On Tuesday, the Pro Football Writers of America released their All-Rookie team, honoring the best first-year players in the NFL at each position. This year, two Packers were named to the team for their contributions in their first season.
Safety: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Drafted: 1st round (21st overall)
The Packers' first pick in the 2014 draft was a good one, as Clinton-Dix joined fellow first-rounder Deone Bucannon of the Arizona Cardinals as the safeties on the All-Rookie team. Ha Ha recorded 94 total tackles this season, good for second on the team behind fellow safety Morgan Burnett. He also added one sack, one interception, one fumble recovery, and six pass breakups.
Clinton-Dix and Bucannon were the second and third safeties taken in this year's draft, respectively, as Calvin Pryor of the New York Jets went 18th overall. Bucannon's season finished with no interceptions, but two sacks and a forced fumble.
Center: Corey Linsley
School: Ohio State
Drafted: 5th round (161st overall)
The former Ohio State Buckeye can celebrate his alma mater's national title today with an individual accolade, being named the center on the All-Rookie team. Linsley, of course, stepped into the starting lineup when JC Tretter went down a week before the regular season began, and he took to the job with great aplomb, ensuring that Tretter would not have a spot when he returned from Injured Reserve.
Linsley was one of six players from this year's rookie class who played more than 50% of their team's snaps at center, but that should not diminish his accomplishments. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed just one sack and two additional hits on Aaron Rodgers during the regular season and was the fourth-highest-graded center in the entire league, regardless of experience, with a +10.0 grade. Linsley's ability to anchor in the running game was also a big reason for the Packers' success running the ball, as the team averaged over 5.1 yards per carry when running up the middle.
Other players on the All-Rookie team who may interest to Packers fans include linebackers C.J. Mosley (Ravens) and Chris Borland (49ers), quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (Vikings), and cornerback Kyle Fuller (Bears).